Love and Rockets #10 is a celebration. There are some original character design sketches and even a portfolio section with the pre-published work from Los Bros. Jaime opens the issue with a fourth wall breaking Locas one-pager, Beto closes the issue with a fourth wall breaking one-pager. Jaime’s ends up being more about Hopey and Maggie (who are still in the middle of a very dramatic Mechanics) while Beto’s is all about his artistic creations hounding him.
Each brother has a feature. Jaime the aforementioned Mechanics installment. Everyone still thinks Maggie and Rena are dead, leading to some beautiful mourning panels from Jaime. He gets to use all that black. And since some the issue is in darkness (the tunnels where Maggie and Rena are traveling, Hopey shut off from the world), it’s much more than silhouette.
Maggie and Rena’s plot takes them to a native village–giving Jaime his first major cheesecake in a while–while Race gets close to Dot Winks again. It’s hard to hate Dot anymore. Though I can see why Penny is done with Race; even when he means well, he’s sort of a doof.
And Hopey gets to muscle through some of her mourning. She even gets rid of the blonde dye job.
Then there are thirteen pages of sketches. Some awesome stuff. Makes you wonder what Music for Monsters could’ve been.
And then Palomar. Beto throws a party. It’s a literal party. The residents of Palomar are having a cookout. Everyone’s there, including Beto’s other (human) Love and Rockets creations as well as all of Jaime’s principals. And Frida.
Beto has a wandering narrative, starting by following Heraclio around the party, then passing the baton to Luba for a while, then Pipo (returning for the first time since issue three–all grown up and beyond glamorous)–then to Tonantzin, then he wanders between them all. We find out Pipo’s not just glamourous, she’s being physically abused by her husband (that dipshit Gato, also not seen since issue three). The nasty old sheriff is back (though Chelo appears to have forgotten her previous, clandestine sexual relationship with him).
On one hand, it’s great catchup with the cast. On the other, it’s Beto dealing with some serious things–particularly Pipo, but also the would-be rapist ex-sheriff–in a cartoonish manner. It’s beautifully executed, in terms of art and pacing. Beto excels at juggling all the characters and plot threads, it’s just a tad too functional.
It’s a fine tenth issue though; Los Bros have accomplished a lot. A breather is all right; fine for Love and Rockets, after all, is still excellent comics. It’s also a little jarring to see the cast in color (on the front and back covers). Well, everyone except Izzy. Jarring in a good way.